Brujas' Arianna Gil on Feminism in The Skate Park And 1971
Art Basel 2K16 is officially over, but before the festivities concluded, Miami seriously lucked out: feminist skate collective Brujas made the trip down south to debut two new colors for their 1971 streetwear line, which, ICYMI, was funded by one mega Kickstarter to support people targeted by the prison system. To celebrate the recent launch, they co-hosted an all-day event Saturday with Future Archives to support Skate Free, a nonprofit leading the effort to develop free public skate parks and programs in underserved areas of Miami.
The event featured none other than the King of Basel himself, our man Virgil Abloh, along with VENUS X, Aller Muet, and Siobhan Bell, art installations by Philippa Price and Harvard Grad architecture collective Vibes, and of course, a free skate led by Brujas. To top it off, the group also found time for the debut of their new skate decks, which will jointly benefit Freedom2Live, members of Brujas community effected by incarceration, and the Future Archives Artist Prize, a no-strings-attached grants to emerging artists.
The Brujas presence is hard to ignore; unyielding in their passion for urban youth of color, and unapologetic about carving out a space for female skateboarders, they’re making their movement (and their message) known—in Miami, NYC, and beyond. Read on to hear from one of the Brujas founders Arianna Gil on what’s next for her crew.
Tell us about the Future Archives party. What’s going down?
We’re working with a dope arts archival organization called Future Archives that’s relatively new but super down. I’m really happy to be working with them—they understand our messaging 100%. What else do I have to say? I’m just a really big fan of Chloe’s, and both of our organization’s missions are similar in that we’re working within a culture with political undertones, and with political goals of organizing our community against capitalism and with aims at resisting fascism and capitalism, so in that way I feel very safe and very happy to be a part of this event. We’re also working with VENUS X, who Brujas has been working with for awhile now, so it just feels like home.
I just DJ-ed an almost 90% New York City underground rap set, like mad New York music, and you know with our messaging and our music, we really want to put New York back on the map, but also we’re in Florida so I played some local Florida stuff too—out of respect for local culture and stuff like that. You know, we hope people come to visit our city, and overlapping with our Brujas anti-gentrification message and respecting locals and understanding the culture that’s native to cities—that’s extremely important. So we got up on our Florida rap, played some [Task], we also played this mad skilled Spanish female rapper from Miami, you know we’re just trying to be conscious in every move we make, so it’s been bomb here.
We know you and your organization are all about supporting urban youth of color—how does skating specifically fit into that?
Skateboarding is like the coup d’état of organized sports—it’s like the anti-organized sport, and I think that for disenfranchised communities it just always feels more natural than things with hyper structures, so I think the anarchic and chaotic, anti-state, and anti-private property undertones of skateboarding culture just politically aligns with the interest of urban youth of color.
You recently raised over 20k—can you tell us a little bit about the project and the streetwear you designed?
23k! 1971, yeah…obviously when you talk about an experience of urban youth of color like policing, and especially in regards to gentrification—policing in our community is a big problem. And mass incarceration—prisons are to us the biggest problem…not the biggest problem actually I would say because I mean, we don’t even look at the world in terms of these social justice issues, literally prisons are the undercurrent of social control right now. The legal systems define how people are controlled socially, so we had to go and address the thing that is most oppressive, most affective at controlling people and controlling resistance, and that’s prisons.
So we’re just trying to be as direct with our politics as possible and that’s why we chose to bring prison abolitionist messaging into our regular discourse, because the discourse around Brujas is becoming politicized and a lot around identity and a lot about ‘Oh, these young girls taking up space on their skateboards.’ Like nah, it’s way bigger than us individually as skateboarders—it’s about systems of oppression, and in the history of civil rights, organizing fundraising has been a crucial part, so raising money the best way we knew how was a means to an end. We got a really nice chunk of money to immediately start supporting people and to spread the message of prison abolitionists through what I would say is creative political agitational propaganda streetwear.
What’s next for you guys? Any cool projects coming soon?
We’ve had a huge, huge, huge last three months; we went on tour on the West Coast with War of Icaza; we dropped the 1971 project; we’re gonna keep doing more creative streetwear. I would say look out for a collaboration with the photographer Ian Reid, accompanied by a piece on queer theory and nihilism—that should be really interesting. Yeah, I’m personally focusing on music, keeping our organization internally strong, making sure we have a model that fits what we’re doing, so we’re doing a little bit of centering over the next couple months, but I’m really excited for the Ian Reid project that’s gonna drop.
Image via Cole Giordano.
Stay tuned to Milk for more from revolutionaries we love.